2nd Grade Self-Portraits!

It’s that time of year again! The 2nd grade has finished their self-portraits. This project incorporates many different artistic skills. First, they learn the basic proportions of the face.


Next, they drew themselves from observation by looking in a mirror. They learned to really look and they what they saw, not what they thought they saw. They then chose their colors to reflect their own personalities, making sure to create contrast between the face and the background. Lastly, they observed highlights and shadows on their own faces and mixed their own tints and shades.

Artists L to R, top to bottom: Luca, Allysha, Jacob, Kennedeth, TJ, Lincoln, Tava, Lilly, Faren, Philip, Madysen, Izzy, Lyla, Jeut,Rashaun, Karina


3rd Graders Learn about Value, Form and Still-life drawing!

Over the past few weeks 3rd grade artists have been preparing for a still life project by learning about shapes vs. forms. They learned that shapes are 2D (i.e. squares, triangles and circles) while forms are 3D (i.e. cubes, pyramids and cylinders). We viewed examples of forms and still lives in famous works of art. 3rd grade artists identified the light source in each painting and then observed the different values it created on the forms.


For example, in the Cezanne painting above, 3rd grade artists were able to tell that the light was coming from the top right corner because the lightest values on the lemons are on the top right, and the darkest shadows are cast by the plate in the bottom left.

Next, they were ready to practice creating values of their own by creating a 5-step value scale (see Chane’s beautiful example below).

IMG_1376Then, they created the illusion of forms on their papers by drawing simple lines and then chose a light source. Lastly, they applied value to their forms according to the placement of the light source.

(Artists below L to R, top to bottom: Zion, Gregory, Olivia, Joel, Justin, Aedan) 

Now that they have learned so much about forms and value, they are ready to draw a still life from observation. In our last classes, 3rd grade artists got together in groups to create their own forms in a still life using Magna-Tiles.

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Stay tuned to see how their still life drawings turn out!


2nd Grade Cityscape Paintings!


2nd graders have assumed the role of architects and city planners, tasked with designing their own cityscapes. First we looked at photographs of different buildings in NYC to identify the various shapes they are comprised of. Then they drew their own buildings and sky details using sharpie and oil pastel. Lastly, they painted a wash over the sky and the buildings, observing the resist between the oil pastels and the watercolor. The results are stunning!

(Artists L to R, top to bottom: Antoinette, Nylah, Isabella, Jeut, Jolissa, Kawan, Talique, Kaisuke, TJ) 

**Hot tip: if your kids seem interested in architecture as an art form, read them Iggy Peck Architect by Andrea Beaty.

It’s a terrific story with even better illustrations. If you like what you read, you’ll be happy to hear that Iggy Peck is part of a series including other titles such as Ada Twist Scientist, and Rosie Revere Engineer. ENJOY!

1st Grade Light and Dark Self-Portraits

1st graders just completed their self-portraits using light and dark colors. We read the book My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss to spark a discussion about how color can be used to describe different feelings. Then, we brainstormed a list of feeling words and separated them into dark and light colors. Next, artists chose a light colored feeling word and a dark colored feeling word and drew a picture of themselves describing a time they felt each feeling. Lastly, they finished their pictures by coloring the light emotions in colored pencils and painting the dark emotions in watercolor. See some of the beautiful examples below:


Up next: 1st grade artists will learn about the cave paintings of Lascaux and the earth tones that ancient artists used to paint them.

1st Grade Space Collages!

1st grade artists have been learning about space with an introduction to perspective. First they learned about the foreground, middle ground and background of a picture and how to make something look closer to the viewer or farther away by changing its size and placement. Then they learned that the horizon line is the line that separates the ground from the sky.

To demonstrate this new understanding, 1st grade artists created space collages by applying a foreground, middle ground and background to a picture that included the horizon line.

Space and perspective can be developmentally challenging for students at this age. You  can help your kids understand these concepts better by asking them to find the horizon line when you’re out in the world, or when looking at pictures, ask them which object is closer and how they can tell!

1A Artists L to R: Elyse, Leni, Sophia, TJ

1B Artists L to R: Gabe, Alaya, J’ma, Layla

1C Artists L to R: Zion, Naomi, Lyla, Zac

2nd Grade Learns about Negative and Positive Space!

This project introduced 2nd grade artists to the concept of negative and positive space as well as a new way to create a self-portrait. First, they learned that negative space is the space around, and in between an object, and positive space is the object itself. We viewed several images to identify the negative and positive space and found that the negative spaces are just as important as the positive spaces!


Next, they applied this concept to create a new kind of self-portrait featuring their own hands instead of their faces. We discussed the purpose of a self-portrait as a work of art that describes the artist. Then we discussed how even your hands can tell a lot about you.

To start their alternative self-portraits they first traced their hands in different places on the paper. Next they chose words that describe them and things that they like and then added them to either the negative or positive space. Lastly, they colored in the remaining space using a color of their choice. The results speak volumes!


Artists top to bottom, L to R: Logan, Gertrude, Chania, Leah Gregory


1st Grade “Me” Puppets

1A Artists L to R: Emilio, Charlie, Karina, Valentina, Jolissa, Madysen, Makenna, Azra, Lucafullsizerender-23fullsizerender-24fullsizerender-25

1B Artists L to R: Summer, Greyson, Alexa, Layla, Alex, Kaisuke, Aiden, Alaya, Emmiefullsizerender-28fullsizerender-29fullsizerender-30

1C Artists L to R, top to bottom: Sasha, Emil, Lulu, Faren, Juniper, Ryder, Philip, Jeut, Veronicafullsizerender-22